'Early days' for skilful Lions

Sun, 28 Jan 2018 16:09

REACTION: Lions coach Swys de Bruin will show his hand on Monday, when he names his squad for the Super Rugby season.

While De Bruin was voracious in his excitement about the depth at the union, he cautioned against reading too much into the 66-22 pre-season victory over the Bulls at Ellis Park at the weekend.

Some of the youngsters who starred in the demolition of one of two Bulls teams that played at the weekend - the other lost 14-31 to the Sharks in Polokwane - may be disappointed when the Super Rugby squad is announced on Monday.

De Bruin, who is heading into his first Super Rugby season as head coach of the Lions, said the real build-up to their opening match of the season (against the Sharks in Johannesburg on February 17) will start this coming week.

"All the Japan and Europe guys [players who were abroad in the off-season] are returning this [coming] week," De Bruin said.

"It's a case of welcoming them back and then onto the work.

"Monday morning I want to tell the guys who are not in the [Super Rugby] squad - who are going up to the Challenge Cup [domestic competition] side - tell them early and then announce the side," De Bruin added.

De Bruin did not hide his enthusiasm over the depth in the broader squad.

"It was just a case of [testing the] depth and as far as that's concerned, I think the depth in the union is looking good - especially the youngsters," the coach said.

"The form for this time of the year was surprisingly good, the skill level.

"I was impressed with the skill level and they played right to the end.

"The fitness level was amazingly good."

However, he cautioned against reading too much into the final result.

"We have a lot of work to do in terms of retaining possession," he said.

"We looked good [at times] and then faded away.

"The future is looking good, but it is vital that we don't get ahead of ourselves."

By Josh Isaacson

* Picture courtesy of DeonvanderMerwe.co.za

Bulls vs Rebels
sast: 15h05 | local: 15h05

  • 0 | 0
Sat, 21 April 2018
Leinster v Scarlets 14h30 Dublin
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Durban
Zebre v Ospreys 16h45 Parma
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 17h05 Kingspan Stadium
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 22 April 2018
Brumbies v Jaguares 06h05 Canberra
Racing Metro v Munster 14h15 Paris
Fri, 27 April 2018
Gloucester v Bath 22h00 Kingsholm
Dragons v Scarlets 22h00 Rodney Parade
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Leinster 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Ulster 22h00 Thomond Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 22h00 Sixways
Wasps v Northampton Saints 22h00 Ricoh Arena
London Irish v Saracens 22h00 Madejski Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Welford Road
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 22h00 Sandy Park
Kings v Cheetahs 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Treviso v Zebre 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 6 4 0 2 20
Brumbies 7 3 0 4 14
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Blues 7 2 0 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 7 3 0 4 14
Sharks 8 2 1 5 14
Stormers 8 3 0 5 13
Jaguares 6 2 0 4 8